The turbulent economy has made recent months uncertain for almost all businesses, and the PR industry is no exception to that. It’s an unfortunate truth that when budget cuts are being made, marketing is often one of the first to be trimmed and as a result, so too is PR. And yet research has shown that companies that have bounced back the fastest from previous recessions usually did not cut their marketing spend, in some cases, they actually increased it. There’s a school of thought that products launched during a recession will have improved long-term survival chances and also higher sales revenues. Of course, having fewer new products to compete with certainly plays a part in this!
There have been some fantastic examples of businesses whose comms have excelled during the coronavirus period, here are a selection of my personal favourites.
Aldi x Brewdog
You’d have struggled to miss the ‘beef’ between Aldi and Brewdog in August when the supermarket was called out by the brewery for creating a knock-off of its popular Punk IPA. What followed was a master class in using social media to turn an awkward situation into a money maker. The two companies shared a series of exchanges on Twitter which ended in Brewdog producing ALD IPA, now sold in Aldi. Hats off to Brewdog and its co-founder James Watt!
It’s a cliché in film and television, a stressed or frustrated individual locks themselves in an empty room and screams so nobody can hear. Inspired by Iceland, the tourism body, launched the #LetItOutIceland campaign in July. The campaign asked everyone to record their guttural screams of frustration with the state of the world to then be released into Iceland’s infamous stunning and vast open spaces.
Speaking about the video, Head of Promote Iceland Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir said, “We feel this is just what the world needs. And when people are ready to resume travelling, they can come and experience it for themselves.”
An impactful tourism campaign during a global travel lockdown may seem an impossible task, hats off to Inspired by Iceland!
The ironic (and iconic) – Emily Crisps
The healthy snack company purchased a series of outdoor media advert boards late in 2019, selecting April and its Easter bank holiday weekend was the perfect time of year to kick off its first outdoor marketing campaign. They couldn’t have foreseen what came next, but they took an unfortunate situation and did what us Brits do best – they made fun of themselves. It took some convincing to persuade Clear Channel to run the adverts as they felt the posters highlighted that outside media is ineffective given the climate. But Emily persevered and persuaded them otherwise. The four adverts called out the misfortune of running outdoor adverts to an audience of empty streets and they were a huge success, providing a snippet of humour during a difficult time.
As these brands have displayed, creativity in a crisis certainly pays off!